Soul: Pixar’s Definition Of Purpose In Life

A friend of mine requested I cover Soul roughly two years ago when it first came out and I’m finally doing it. Here’s to you friend.

Quick Summary~

Joe Gardner is a middle school band teacher who finally gets the opportunity of a lifetime: to sing with Dorothea Williams. Unfortunately, he falls down a manhole, dies, and ends up in the afterlife. He escapes to an area where souls are crafted and meets 22. 22 is a soul who doesn’t see the appeal of Earth. They team up and both gain new perspectives on life. Here is more about the creation of “Soul”.

Comments while watching

  • Elementary/Middle school band at its finest. I don’t want to imagine what I sounded like in elementary school choir
  • She is 12
  • Job benefits is when you know you’re a stable adult
  • I’d be the same way Curly. I could never refer to a former prof by their first name 
  • Sassy i like it
  • Nah man, it’s a test. You gotta vibe with them
  • I love the colors surrounding him symbolising being in the zone 

Important to pay attention

  • On screen character death 
  • Wait was that a pride come before the fall symbolism 
  • Such a cool visual style…kinda reminds me of into the spiderverse
  • Sounds like you did a couple of rebrandings
  • Lil hats to match 💜💜
  • Everyone is named Jerry except Terry 
  • How to subtly get rid of Terry 
  • His name above Dorothea’s
  • Apparently that how many people are on earth 
  • Sometimes it’s not the extraordinary that inspires people 

I wanna know what all the symbols mean 

  • Wow joke 
  • Hands are hard
  • Look around her passions probably are here
  • For someone who doesn’t like music it’s weird you have a jukebox 
  • Hippie pirate ship is not something you’d expect 
  • Poor hedge fund managers 
  • Nobody ahhhhhhh
  • 22 looks kinda jealous 
  • You know I’d watch a spin off based on the hippie pirates
  • So in this movie’s lore brain and soul are not connected 
  • Curly is a bro
  • You wear a hat all the time 
  • I would grab a couple too
  • How is he tracking them 
  • Brush with death
  • PSA
  • That suit is filthy now
  • 22 really likes food
  • Mean of you to say 
  • Ewwwww

This conversation was a trainwreck 

  • Mom has a point 
  • I guess it depends on what you call success and life defining moments 
  • Posing 🤣🤣
  • She’s been collecting moments of love 
  • The hard part is we don’t know when she turned 
  • Narcissist 
  • Selfish taking her pass
  • More narcissism
  • Aw mom and aunties made it
  • Time to catch 22…get it?
  • For real 
  • Do you have a moment 🤣
  • Worked it out with Terry 🤣

Soul’s Afterlife

I’ve seen the complains and praises surrounding Soul. I’m not qualified to talk about it but I would like to talk a bit about Pixar’s idea of the afterlife. According to Soul, if you die you go on an escalator destined for the “Great Beyond”. I politely disagree with this depiction. In Soul, before you’re born, your personality is crafted by random selection. You’re given a “spark” through mentorship with dead souls like Mother Theresa. I agree that we are all hand-crafted before we’re born but I believe life is too complex for any personality to be an accident.

What is 22’s spark?

The whole point of Soul is that we aren’t meant to know but I think I can point out certain attributes Pixar believes bring meaning to life and breakdown her badge to give a good idea.

Investing in the people around you. 22 stops three noticeable times to take notice of the people around Joe. Once with his band kid where she inadvertently encourages her to keep playing. Another time with Dez in the barbershop, she asks him questions about his life. Lastly before getting on the subway she stops to notice the street musician. It’s a stark contrast to Joe who didn’t seem to appreciate any of the people in his life. I feel like he took his mom and Dez in particular for granted.

Enjoying the little things. When Joe plays piano to try and save 22, he pulls out everything she put in his pocket. They were a bagel, a pizza crust, a lollipop, a spool of thread, and a subway ticket. She stopped to lay down, watch the sky and feel the breeze from the vent beneath her. It was the little things that brought her great joy.

22’s badge:

On the Disney Wiki, 22 is described as “snarky and cynical” which is true but weak. I couldn’t find an official meaning for the symbols on her badge which I feel like would have been better so I’ll do my best to break down her personality…

Thumbs down: I see this meaning pessimistic or cynical.

Mega phone: I take this mean outspoken, she’s very forward with her opinions in Soul.

Sunshower: the symbolism behind a sunshower is either lucky or contains idioms relating to marriage and/or domestic abuse. All of them with feeling of trying to describe or make sense of the unexplainable. So I think 22 is meant to be an enigma or spontaneous.

Stop Hand: Weirdly enough, I think this means she pushes people away. She doesn’t have any other baby soul friends. Every mentor she’s ever had couldn’t handle her because she actively annoyed them.

Donkey: My first thought was mean but then I remembered stubborn would probably make more sense. She is the 22nd soul and hasn’t been born yet. She likes it in the “Great Before” and didn’t want to change. Snarky also works here.

Clock with arrows: because they are clockwise arrows indicating moving forward in time, I take this mean that she is future-thinking.

To wrap it up, I think 22 would make a great mentor or councilor. She’s witty, will call out your trama, gives you unexpected solutions, will push you to be better, help you think about your future, and, most importantly, won’t give up on you. Her spark didn’t come because she didn’t believe she could bring anything to the table. It’s her whole reason for becoming a lost soul.

Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading my take on Soul, I appreciate it. Comment below what you think. If you like what I do, consider subscribing to my mailing list and if you want to watch something similar, click here. I’ll see you in the next post!

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